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The Wasp
Mr Raccoon

Sloppy Policing in action.

Considering that we seem to be one of the most tracked populations on the planet, what with CCTV, ANPR and all the other state funded controls, I find it somewhat alarming that the police seem to rely on DNA evidence as being beyond reproach when it is used to charge a man in Devon with a rape in Manchester even though he categorically denied ever having been there :

A Devon man wrongly accused of raping a woman in Manchester has spoken of his anger over a DNA mistake which led to the charge.

Charges were dropped against the man when it emerged that a DNA sample was contaminated in the laboratories of Teddington-based LGC Forensics.

The man also said he hoped that the real rapist would be caught.

LGC Forensics said it deeply regretted that forensic evidence was contaminated in one of its laboratories.

GMP Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said when the man was arrested he was “absolutely adamant that he had never been to Manchester so that gave us some concern”.

Mr Heywood added: “We went back to the supplier who was absolutely adamant that this was not the case so we charged the man with Crown Prosecution Service support.

Whilst the article itself is the usual BBC regurgitation of press conference statements with no actual journalism involved, I wonder if the whole case was built entirely on the DNA evidence alone rather than actually proving that the person had some connection with the victim?

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4 comments to Sloppy Policing in action.

  • Tom Mills

    A DNA sample will provide a 1 in 20 million chance that it belongs to a certain person.At approx 60 million people in the UK that gives 3 potential suspects.

    • Wasp

      Tom – A very good point but one that I fear never even gets considered especially when the general view seems to be that DNA evidence is infallible.

  • Furor Teutonicus

    “Contamination” is deffinately a problem, but the touching faith laid upon DNA evidence by courts and jurys, (probably due to overdosing on never ending episodes of that CSI shite), is even a larger one.

    It is SOOOOO easy to get DNA from anyone you damn well like, and “deposite” it at a “suitable crime scene”, that no more “trust” should be placed upon its evidence, that is placed upon “lie detector” tests (FBI say 50/50 at BEST. Most U.S States/counties won’t even allow it in court).

    Finger prints are a touch more difficult, but even THEY can be “transfered” if you know what you are doing.

    When some one says they are innocent, and the DNA evidence is wrong, MUCH more notice should be taken of them, than is done at present.

    • Wasp

      FT – Indeed and given the average laypersons understanding of statistics they are likely to be convinced of someones guilt by DNA evidence alone when told of probabilities of the order of millions to one.